How it works
Every Sunday morning you'll receive a link to Al Dente's latest menu via email, with orders open until 2pm on Friday afternoon. We offer order pick-ups on Fridays and Saturdays between 9am-5pm from Al Dente Sapori, 161 Nicholson Street, Carlton. We deliver on a Saturday to a 25KM radius from our Carlton premises for orders of $100 or more. Delivery is free for orders over $120.
Our menu items arrive either frozen or refrigerated and are designed to be finished off at home. We make sure that there are clear cooking and assembly instructions on each product, however you are always welcome to call us on 0483 800 861 if you need assistance. Most importantly, many of our items are frozen and are designed to be cooked from frozen. This will always be stated on the label.
Al Dente was founded in April 2020 by Andrea Vignali, a chef at Grossi Florentino, one of Australia’s best Italian restaurants. When COVID-19 put the restaurant on pause, Andrea established Al Dente to provide handmade pasta for lucky households. Andrea soon teamed up with his best friend and Grossi colleague Davide Bonadiman to continue the Al Dente story.
When Andrea launched Al Dente, he was on a temporary visa and was not able to access government benefits. The business was founded to support not just himself, but other visa holders too. Through the amazing support of Melbourne pasta fans, the Al Dente family was able to survive a very difficult year. We will never forget it!
MORE ABOUT ANDREA
Born in Lombardy in northern Italy, Andrea was drawn to restaurants from the age of 12, first during school holidays at his uncle’s tavern in Liguria, then on weekends at a restaurant in his home village of Robbiate. “School wasn’t for me,” he says. “I couldn’t stand still for a second but being in the kitchen showed me I was good at something. Being fast and full of energy was an advantage.”
He shifted to culinary college where his teachers saw great potential, sending him for work experience to top regional kitchens and as far afield as Switzerland. As soon as he graduated he joined the staff of Michelin-starred Pierino Penati, not far from Milan. Steady promotions over four years saw Andrea attain the role of chef de partie but it was no picnic. “We’d work 13 hours a day, six days a week,” he says. “I loved it and I learnt so much but it was a crazy time.” Next stop was La Tessitura, a 30-seat restaurant closer to his village, where he quickly progressed to his first head chef job aged just 22. He was a local sensation and the TV crews came calling but Andrea’s horizons were broader. “I thought I needed to travel,” he says. “So I got on a plane to Australia.”
Two days after he arrived in Melbourne, the young chef had a job at Grossi Florentino. "It felt like a home away from home and it was great to work with owner-chef Guy Grossi and executive chef Chris Rodriguez," says Andrea. "I learnt more about Italian food there than I did in Italy.” There was also the joy of being immersed in Melbourne’s hospitality world. "I loved Melbourne straight away," says Andrea. "You can speak about wine and food with everyone. When everything is good, this is the best place in the world."
MORE ABOUT DAVIDE
Davide Bonadiman was born to be a chef. His parents ran a restaurant in the heart of Verona, in the northern Veneto. His childhood was intertwined with the family restaurant and he fell naturally into a cheffing career. “I always loved cooking because I was in that environment from when I was young,” he says. “It grew into a huge passion for me.” While studying hospitality, Davide worked in Michelin-starred restaurants in Verona and won the opportunity to travel to London for work experience in a four-star hotel.
The wide world beckoned and, in 2013, Davide came to Melbourne. He feels fortunate that his first job here was at Mezzo, a lovely restaurant which used to be on Little Bourke Street. He worked under great teachers such as Mirco Speri (now at Buono in Parkdale) and Marcello Mariani (now at Caterina’s). After four years as understudy, Davide took charge of the restaurant for two years, before seeking new adventures at Grossi Florentino.
At Grossi, he cooked alongside Andrea Vignali, bonding enthusiastically over a shared love of cooking the food of their home country with beautiful Australian ingredients. The pair have carried that same philosophy forward to Al Dente. “We want to show that it’s possible to mix local produce with the traditions we grew up with,” he says. “With this great combination, we can create something truly unique.”
Davide is involved in every aspect of the business but he has a special focus on the pasta dough. He is the quality control maestro, checking every single pasta sheet and filled parcel. His obsession is one of the main reasons we can stand behind the quality of our dishes.